[1.1.9.0] Pure Soldier [HC] Beginner Forcewave 1-75 Leveling Guide + Endgame Options and Class Combos

INTRODUCTION

Hey guys,
This is the first in a series of builds that I will be posting, that try to cut away some of the confusion regarding leveling guides. I have often noticed the same formula, where the poster will show real examples of their characters, and it can become confusing for newer players, because of certain skills being boosted, and them not knowing how to make sense of the point investment. In these guides, I will provide mostly theory crafts with only the items that I recommend farming, with no affixes on them, to provide as plain and simple a view of the leveling process as possible. When I do have a real example of my character at that level, it will be presented alongside a theory craft version to show the possibilities as well as the bare minimum for that point in the journey.
Note that these guides will stop at 75, as I find it preferable to start farming for realistic endgame builds that can be farmed for around the 75-95 mark. I will still show an example of a completed build with just SSF (solo self-found) gear, but I encourage people to figure out what they want as an endgame build before getting to max level, so they can start recognizing and saving items for the inevitable switch.

THE BUILD

For this guide, we will be focusing on making a pure Soldier, using the Forcewave ability. Soldiers have an amazing balance of damage, defense, and sustain that will allow us to have an easy and satisfying journey that is also hardcore viable.
Forcewave is a medium-range spam ability, that both does great damage, but also hits many enemies, making it perfect for beginners and those looking for an efficient leveling build.
I have chosen to go monoclass, specifically to allow you the greatest freedoms regarding endgame builds, so as not to lock you in, as Soldier has some of the most versatile class combos in the game, capable of all styles of play.

GAMEPLAY

The majority of your gameplay with Forcewave revolves around grouping packs together and spamming them to death. Soldier has some fantastic abilities, like War Cry, which can draw aggro if you are in a group setting as well. In the beginning, you will kite enemies and use FW from a distance, but as you start leveling, and getting tankier gear, devotions, and skills, you will be able to just approach and unload, with no real worries of being killed.

LEVELING

Levels 1-20

  • During these initial levels, you should focus on getting the first node of Forcewave and, more importantly, getting the branching node Tremor. Try to max FW out as soon as you can, and take a couple of spare points in Menhir’s Will, Military Conditioning, and Blitz to give you some extra sustain and a movement skill. You should also try to get the guarantted drop, Hevill’s Greatsword. By level 10, you should look like THIS.
  • Now you should progress further down the mastery bar, focusing on maxing out the second node of FW, Rending Force, and picking up some more useful skills, like War Cry, Veterency, and putting a few points into our first toggle skill, Field Command. You should also have outgrown Hevill’s by now, and be looking for % Physical damage pieces and generally pieces with high armor or resistances. You will also be finding useful components to help with resists, like Scavenged Plating and Mutagenic Ichor. You should also have a few devotion points, and start working down the Assassin’s Blade constellation, getting some extra % Phys damage, and eventually some -RR (minus Resist Reduction - lowering the enemy’s ability to resist your damage type.) By level 20, you should look like THIS

Levels 21-50

  • For the next 10 levels, you should be primarily focused on getting the third node of FW, Internal Trauma maxed. With your main damage dealer maxed, you can focus more on getting supporting skills, like Decorated Soldier and Squad Tactics, and progressing the mastery bar further, for better survivability. At level 30, you can begin to farm for our main synergistic weapon, Obsidian War Cleaver from the Chthonian Vanguard type enemies toward the end of the main campaign. They drop at level 30, 40, 55, 70, 84, and 94, and should be farmed around each of those level breakpoints to keep your damage consistent. Keep in mind that certain affixes will affect the exact levels of the drops, and that you should be looking for affixes like Tyrant’s, Vampiric, of Ruin, and others that boost % Physical damage. You can also look for other supportive items, like Chosen Gaze in Forgotten Gods, or Shambler’s Heart around this time, should you so choose. At level 30, you should look like THIS
  • We will take a slightly larger jump here, as we build up toward our capstone skill of choice Oleron’s Rage for the massive increase to you damage and speed, and max out Field Command and Squad Tactics. As you gain more devotion points, you have the choice of going for more proc skills by going with Dryad, Eel, Hound, Solemn Watchtower, and Scales of Ulcama, or more 2H capability with Toad, Ulzaad, Eel, and Kraken. It’s really up to personal preference, but I find the Scales route to be preferable for HC, so I went that direction. By 50, you should look like THIS

Levels 51-75

  • You should be moving on to Elite at this point, so definitely keep outfitting yourself with the best components you can, and note that at 50, 65, 70, and 90, you will gain access to Augments from faction shops, that can increase your resistances to their caps, and augment your weapons and jewelry to have additional damage. These levels should be about investing in all of the auxiliary skills that will help with survival, like Military Conditioning, Veterency, Decorated Soldier, and Scars of Battle. You will also finish your devotion map in this time, and will need to pick up a movement augment like Glyph of Rahn’s Might or any other dash type ability with DoT (damage over time) to proc one of our devotions, as we don’t have many active abilities. By 75, you should look like THIS
    My actual character, looked like THIS at the time, to give you an idea of the build with other items as well.

Levels 75+

  • This stage of the game is when you should begin focusing on what you want for an endgame build. I chose to follow @AlkamosHater’s
    [1.1.6.0] Physical Forcewave Warlord sr100/75-76 easy farm/celestials for my build, which is why I do not have a screenshot of the actual character I was using at 100. This build was very easy to create, thanks to target-farmable set, and legendaries that drop like candy. My version of the build looks like THIS (basically exactly the build he posted)

  • Most people starting out will not have a farming character for SSF farming, or be playing in MP as I was for this run, so I would say that a realistic looking version of this build, at 100, would look like THIS

DEVOTIONS

For this build, I am using @AlkamosHater’s devotion path from his FW Warlord, but I really like the path, and it suits this build well.

Just to reiterate, here is the full devotion path:

  • White
  • Assassin’s Blade
  • Dryad
  • Hammer
  • Blue
  • Eel
  • Hound
  • Solemn Watchtower
  • Respec Blue
  • Right side of Scales of Ulcama
  • Toad
  • Ulzaad, Herald of Korvaak
  • Kraken
  • Most of Ghoul
  • Most of Azraaka, the Eternal Sands
  • 2 points in Obelisk of Menhir

Endgame Options
There are tons of possibilities for Soldier in the endgame, but I’ve selected a few that are relatively easy to make, mostly using target-farmable gear or frequently dropping gear.

These are just some of the many builds you can make, and not even all the class combos are represented here. Soldier is incredibly versatile, and I just wanted to show the variety of playstyles with this sampling

THANKS
Thanks to @mad_lee, @fretheo, @nery, @AlkamosHater, @Slev1n, @eardianm,@Afanasenkov26, and the Grim Dawn community.

13 Likes

It is very good idea to show generic leveling of mastery as you did here. Are you planning in doing one per mastery eventually?

Btw I think Nerys EoR warlord and also Alkamos retal builds deserves a mention in the warlord section as well :slight_smile: but as you said only some examples was provided and naturally you focused on mostly 2H builds

Good format of guide, I really like the purple color!

3 Likes

Yeah you are 100% right about that, and I was thinking of doing some more single class and some more with the combo in mind. We shall see if people like this one haha

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I can include guide in my compendium too. It will be the first mono class entry!

Btw I still prefer fleshwarped casque over that MI helm for less sprit invested and higher up time on war cry.

2 Likes

Yeah, that is a good alternate piece for sure

THANKS

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Always good to see build guides with detailed focus on the leveling strategy and skill point distribution trajectory. Not enough of them include this valuable focus which is an essential tool for newer players and veterans of the game who may have never tried the class/class combo!

This is an aspect of a good beginner guide that makes me enjoy them more than other build guides. Im glad to see the trend has grown and continues to grow despite development coming to a close. Shit i move so slow in this game, GD 2 will probably release before I am able to complete all the milestones I have planned for my own builds. Ill be posting here every now and then long after development has officially ended and no more hotfixes are coming. I hope all of you do too!

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I do a lot of testing of various strategies and a lot of my friends like to try builds of mine, so I felt it was best to formulate these guides in the same way as I would try to show them the build. There is too much focus on the endgame and not enough on the journey, which is why I intentionally omitted the endgame from the focus until the very end.

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Great to see well-writen guide and another rising builder with potential! :smile: Thanks for mentioning me, for FW you can check also this build:

It can work with Warlord too, probably better than my old guide (but harder to farm because it’s not SR set). Devotion route is tanky enough too for HC I think but after full build is made.

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Haha yeah, I was originally going to make that one myself, as an SSF HC build, especially as DK is one of my fav classes, but the No-set stipulation is exactly why I went with the Warlord. Both are fantastic builds. Also, I didn’t link your Retal Warlords as they are more advanced builds with more than 2 greens.

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yeah what is stat priority?

I was playing on hardcore, so I just mindlessly dumped into physique for DA and HP

Anything to worry about when it comes to the choices between Kymons chosen or the order of deaths vigil, or the 3 cults? What would you recommend?

It’s not really important. I always choose solael because it is the fastest, but you gain a ton of experience for all the cults by just doing FG content